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Barbecue competitions aren’t just about meat. Teams also make desserts.

DALLAS — It’s official — Smoke of the Dragon BBQ n’ Brew barbecue competition taking place this weekend in Dallas City Park will be a qualifying event for the “barbecue super bowl.”

Thanks to some last-minute entries, organizer Sheila Peirce recruited the 15 teams needed to serve as a qualifier to Kansas City Barbecue Society’s national competition.

The show would have gone on regardless, but the addition of four more teams gives visitors more to sample — and judge — and the competitors a little extra incentive to put on their best.

The competition had been known as the BBQ Throwdown in years past, and it was an informal one-day competition that has the crowd and panel of judges evaluating entries.

This year, Peirce changed the name, expanded it to two days, and moved it from the July Fourth to the first weekend in July.

Peirce said Smoke of the Dragon is one of three events in Oregon this year sanctioned by Kansas City Barbecue Society. She attended the competition at The Mill Casino in North Bend earlier this year to recruit teams.

Many were already booked for the weekend, but she said pit masters were wiling to attend in the future.

“They are super excited to have another one in Oregon,” Peirce said.

She said she was surprised to see that pit masters don’t just specialize in smoked meats. One team is famous for its banana cream pie and another for making salted caramel bacon truffles.

“I had chocolate chip cookies — smoked chocolate chip cookies,” Peirce said. “When he said, ‘Would you like a chocolate chip cookie?’ I looked at him like, at a barbecue contest? He opened his smoker and grabbed a cookie for me.”

That got her thinking about what she could ask pit masters to make for a special contest in the coming years at Smoke of the Dragon. Peirce thinks pizza or prunes, a nod to Dallas history, are options for the 2020 competition.

“Maybe I should zone in on that,” Peirce said. “They would have to do something that isn’t with meat. It might make it a little bit harder for them. It would make them work at it.”

The 2019 event begins Friday, the day the teams arrive. Starting at 11 a.m., people can meet the pit masters and enjoy live music and the beer garden. If you want to see the barbecue champion crowned, stop by on the second day.

“Saturday is the big day,” Peirce said. “Saturday’s the competition.”

On both days, people can buy “BBQ bucks” to purchase samples from the competitors to vote on People’s Choice. Samples cost from $1 to $3, and proceeds are split between the team and the event.

The top five teams will win prizes. Smoke of the Dragon has $5,000 in prize money this year, thanks to sponsor MAK Grills.

Next year, Smoke of the Dragon will have to draw 25 teams to be a qualifying event, so Peirce hopes to spark interest with the inaugural competition.

“Hopefully, it just gets bigger and bigger,” Peirce said.

Barbecue, beer and more

What: Smoke of the Dragon BBQ n’ Brew.

When: Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Dallas City Park, Brandvold section.

Teams: Old Dirty Basters; Bradshaw’s Kitchen; Booties BBQ; Piggy D’s; Bad Bones BBQ; BBQ Bros; 503 Backyard BBQ; Hoagie Smokes BBQ; Slo-Mo-Q; Cliff’s Smokin BBQ; Outcasts; Maddog’s BBQ; Smoke 324; JB & JD BBQ; and LakeHouse BBQ.

For more information: Smoke of the Dragon BBQ n’ Brew on Facebook.

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